Articles in 2011

Filter By:

  • The frictional properties of a two-dimensional colloidal crystal reveal that excitations known as kinks and antikinks form when the crystal is dragged along a solid surface. This phenomenon, which was predicted previously but never observed, demonstrates the potential of using colloidal crystals to study frictional properties that are otherwise difficult to characterize.

    • Thomas Bohlein
    • Jules Mikhael
    • Clemens Bechinger
  • Magnons are quanta of spin-wave excitations and are likely to play a major role in the physical mechanisms of combining spin and heat transport. Now, a new device that enables the properties of magnons to be measured independently of the thermoelectric contribution of electrons and phonons is shown, providing crucial information for understanding the physics of electron–magnon interactions, magnon dynamics and thermal spin transport.

    • Marius V. Costache
    • German Bridoux
    • Sergio O. Valenzuela
  • DNA-complexated cationic polymers with reduced charge density, high molecular weight and increased hydrophobicity show a lack of detectable cytotoxicity and efficiently deliver the apoptosis-inducing TRAIL gene to transplanted tumours in mice.

    • Enrico Mastrobattista
    • Wim E. Hennink
    News & Views
  • Technology-transfer activities have surged since the 1980s, but only few inventions are bound to become a commercial success. Academic patenting requires professional strategies and should be motivated by goals beyond licensing revenue.

  • A new plasmonic sensing platform that not only allows the detection of ultrasmall quantities of biomolecules, but is also sensitive to their identity and conformational state, represents a significant advance in the study of biomolecular interactions.

    • Na Liu
    • Annemarie Pucci
    News & Views
  • No accepted description of luminescent blinking in quantum dots is currently available. Now, experiments probing the connection between charge and fluorescence intensity fluctuations unveil an unexpected source of blinking, significantly advancing our fundamental understanding of this baffling phenomenon.

    • Todd D. Krauss
    • Jeffrey J. Peterson
    News & Views
  • Coordinated osmotic shocks within ordered materials lead to nanoperforated multilayer structures that may find application in photonics, optoelectronics and ultrafiltration.

    • Patrick Theato
    • Goran Ungar
    News & Views
  • Tony Hickson, Managing Director of Technology Transfer at Imperial Innovations, talked to Nature Materials about their efforts in stimulating academics at Imperial College London to disclose their inventions, and about trends in the patent system and the challenges of patenting early-stage technology.

    • Christian Martin
  • Electric-field-induced toggle switching of nanoscale thin-film magnets signifies an important step towards energy-efficient magnetic data storage.

    • Evgeny Y. Tsymbal
    News & Views
  • Seven years after isolation of the first graphene sheets, an analysis of the densely populated patent landscape around the two-dimensional material reveals striking differences between universities' patenting activities and illustrates the challenges of a fast-moving technology space.

    • Quentin Tannock
  • The amount of energy that can be stored in Li-ion batteries is insufficient for the long-term needs of society, for example, for use in extended-range electric vehicles. Here, the energy-storage capabilities of Li–O2 and Li–S batteries are compared with that of Li-ion, their performances are reviewed, and the challenges that need to be overcome if such batteries are to succeed are highlighted.

    • Peter G. Bruce
    • Stefan A. Freunberger
    • Jean-Marie Tarascon
    Review Article
  • Electrochemical oxidation of metals produces anodic oxides with highly regular arrangements of pores; however, the mechanisms of pore initiation and self-ordering are not well understood. Now, a quantitative analysis method is proposed that examines the roles of oxide dissolution and ionic conduction in the morphological stability of anodic oxide films.

    • Kurt R. Hebert
    • Sergiu P. Albu
    • Patrik Schmuki
  • The coherence lifetime of a material system to be used in quantum information protocols has to be long enough for several quantum operations to occur before the system loses its quantum coherence. The spins of impurities in silicon have been shown to have coherence lifetimes up to tens of milliseconds, but now all records are beaten with those in high-purity silicon reaching a few seconds.

    • Alexei M. Tyryshkin
    • Shinichi Tojo
    • S. A. Lyon